Local economy scores

Teams from Boise, Idaho, and Richland, Washington, play a game Jan. 26, 2019, at Sunset Elementary School. The teams came to town for the Best of the West AAU basketball tournament, which used gyms in Hermiston, Echo and Stanfield. Another tournament is set this weekend.

The city of Hermiston will nearly double in size this weekend as 110 AAU basketball teams invade the town, and Hermiston High School hosts three high school football playoff games at Kennison Field.

“We have a contract with the OSAA, and it’s worth it for the amount of money it puts back into our community,” Hermiston athletic director Larry Usher said. “We have hosted several events before. The OSAA looks to us because we have nice facilities.”

Hermiston, with the help of Echo and Stanfield, will host the Autumn Kickoff Classic.

Basketball games will be played Saturday and Sunday in every available gym in all three towns.

“If there is another event that brings an economic boon to our economy like the AAU tournaments, I’d like to know what it is,” said Usher, who noted that AAU events also will be held in December, January and February. “All of that money stays in our community. It’s easily $300,000 per weekend.”

Add in the three football games, and that amount will go up.

“It’s awesome for our community,” Hermiston Chamber of Commerce CEO Kimberly Nevil said of the upcoming events. “It’s great for our hospitality industry, restaurants and other businesses. I think our community does well to support things like this.”

A check of local hotel websites shows no vacancies at some properties, while others have anywhere from one to five rooms available.

“The amount of hotel rooms determines what events we can bring to town,” Nevil said. “That’s the cool thing about Hermiston — it’s not just one week a year. We have welcomed events that make Hermiston a wonderful community.”

If sports are not your thing, the Hermiston High School marching band will have a Christmas bazaar Saturday at West Park Elementary School in the main commons, and the drama department is performing “Hamlet Thrill-ma-geddon” at the high school Friday and Saturday night at 7 p.m.


The nice thing about hosting a day of football, is that one ticket will get you a seat for all three games. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students.

Burns and Santiam Christian will kick things off at 11 a.m. in a 3A state semifinal game. The Hilanders and Eagles are both 11-0 on the season.

Adrian/Jordan Valley will take on Crane at 2:15 p.m. in the 1A state semifinals. The Antelopes are 11-0, while the Mustangs are 10-1, with their lone loss to Adrian/Jordan Valley (42-36) in High Desert League play Sept. 13.

The final game of the day is a 4A state semifinal between La Grande and The Dalles at 5:30 p.m. The Tigers are 10-0, while the Riverhawks are 7-4.


The annual Turkey Shoot will be Saturday at Big River Golf Course. The annual event is a fundraiser for the high school and youth golf programs.

Entry fee is $50 per player. You can register the day of the event, or contact Pat Kerrigan at 541-571-0166 to sign up.

Carts are not included, but can be reserved by calling 541-922-3006.

Poker tournament

The annual Hermiston High School Sports Boosters poker tournament is Saturday at John Walchli Farms. The buy-in is $100, and offers players the chance to win $2,400 in gift cards.

The social starts at 5 p.m., with tournament play at 6:30 p.m. If you just want to go for dinner and drinks, the cost is $25. You can register for both on the booster club website.

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